Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.


1. the official language of Albania: of uncertain relationship within the Indo-European family, but thought to be related to ancient Illyrian
a. a native, citizen, or inhabitant of Albania
b. a native speaker of Albanian



the language of the Albanians. The largest centers of Albanian-speaking people outside Albania are in Yugoslavia in the autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija and in Macedonia and Montenegro. There are large Albanian-speaking groups in Italy and Greece. The total number of Albanian-speaking people is about 3,000,000.

Albanian belongs to the Indo-European language family. It is reasonable to assume that Albanian is a direct extension of one of the extinct ancient Balkan languages such as Illyrian or Thracian. The Illyrian hypothesis is supported mostly by historical and linguistic arguments. As in most modern Indo-European languages, elements of ancient inflections in Albanian have undergone great changes, primarily through the reduction of vowels in unstressed syllables. In the course of time a secondary inflected system has developed in which vestiges of ancient Indo-European inflection have combined with new morphological series. Analytic constructions have also been important in expressing grammatical meaning. The typological links of Albanian with the languages of other peoples of the Balkan Peninsula is of particular interest. There are some similarities in the grammatical forms of Albanian, Rumanian, Bulgarian, and modern Greek. The study of these relations is a main concern of Balkan linguistics.

The Albanian language has borrowed heavily from other languages: Latin, the Romance languages, ancient and modern Greek, south Slavic languages, and Turkish. Ancient word roots of Indo-European origin are predominant in the Albanian vocabulary; these roots include the most common stems that express elementary concepts and form numerous word-building families. The modern Albanian vocabulary has also enriched itself with loanwords, formed mainly from Greek and Latin stems, to express scientific and political concepts.

The Albanian language group is divided into two major dialects: the Gheg (northern) and the Tosk (southern). The differences between these dialects are small. The oldest fragments of texts in the Albanian language are from the end of the 15th century. The first Albanian book, Meshari (Official Manual), written in 1555, was translated by Y. Buzuku. Modern Albanian literature emerged in the late 19th century from Gheg and Tosk. These two dialects had a parallel development and are gradually moving closer together. In the People’s Republic of Albania the Tosk form of the literary language is commonly used in the schools, press, and radio broadcasting. The Gheg form is used with Tosk in belles lettres and scientific literature.


Desnitskaia, A. V. Albanskii yazyk i ego dialekty. Leningrad, 1968.
Kochi, R. D., A. Kostallari, and D. I. Skendi. Kratkii albansk-russkii slovar’, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1951.
Pekmezi, G. Grammatik der albanesischen Sprache. Vienna, 1908.
Meyer, G. Etymologisches Worterbuch der albanesischen Sprache. Strasbourg, 1891.
Jokl, N. Linguistisch-kulturhistorische Untersuchungen aus dem Bereiche des Albanischen. Berlin-Leipzig, 1923.


References in periodicals archive ?
Albanian rebels killed two Serb policemen in Lubozda.
Hundreds of flags, songs about Albania and Kosovo, chanting in honor of the UCK and the NLA constituted the atmosphere in which the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Albania's independence and the Albanian flag took place Sunday.
In the meantime, there will be new negotiations between Serbian and ethnic Albanian leaders to work out a long-term political settlement.
Fears of growing ethnic Albanian dominance in Kosovo led to calls from Kosovo Serbs for a crackdown on Albanian separatists, culminating in a government decision to take away Kosovo's autonomy in 1989.
He considers that the Albanian citizens may consider voting for the Macedonian party VMRO-DPMNE because they are disappointed with the Albanian parties.
In the last poll, despite expectations that Ismail Wayne, a candidate for an MP of BDI, will be a representative of Europe, Risto Mancev of VMRO DPMNE polled most votes, which maddened the representatives of the Albanian diaspora, who even threatened to stop sending money to the party.
Forces under the command of Milosevic and the others ``engaged in a well-planned and coordinated campaign of destruction of property owned by Kosovo Albanian civilians,'' it continues.
In a statement he said that "urgent measures" are needed to prevent the Serb attacks which are aimed at "intimidating and causing panic" among the ethnic Albanian majority in Kosovo.
The speculations for insults and alleged disputes in BDI, during the election of Chief of BDI Central Election Headquarters for the next elections, are part of the anti-Albanian and anti-BDI campaign which is developed in a coordinative way in several centers, reacted from the Albanian ruling party.
ARRIVING this week are the first ethnic Albanian Muslims who are fleeing their country for safety in the San Fernando Valley.
Shpetim Polozani, President of the Association of Albanian Political Prisoners, considers that Albanians shouldn't be used as "cannon meat" in the municipality protests.
Protesters attacked the British and Albanian missions and demonstrated at U.